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The Textile Artist

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Joe and Sam Pitcher created textile artist.org - a resource for anyone interested in textiles as a medium in homage to their mother Sue Stone's work. We asked Sue a few questions... shapeimage_6 How do you begin your work – is there a tried and tested process and that you go through? My work is ideas based so thought process is always my starting point but on the way to developing into a visual statement the idea may go through many incarnations usually on a computer screen. Different strands may eventually entwine to form a stronger idea. Nothing is ever ‘set in stone’ so further evolution always takes place during the making process. stone,sue,the_unknown_statistic And do you have a preference for materials? Always natural fibres; mainly cotton and linen. I often use fabrics that have had a previous life, often they are donated by family and friends. Similarly with threads; DMC stranded cotton for drawing and sometimes crewel or tapestry wool for texture but I also have a stash of threads of various types which I seem to have been gifted over many years. cec Your pieces are so full of characters – are these familiar faces, from photographs or imagined? I need to feel a connection with my characters so I often use images from my family album as a device to create a partial narrative. I use whatever feels right at the time; drawing, photographs, imagination, as a starting point to convey my ideas. Sometimes the faces are very familiar, my husband, my sons, my sister, my parents, myself, but they are not confined to those I have known personally. The unknown characters who inhabit our family albums intrigue me and I still feel that connection albeit somewhat tenuous. stone,sue,portrait_of_a_Grimsby_girl_2014 What is your background in terms of textiles? My Mum was trained as a tailor so I grew up surrounded by cloth and making. After studying Fashion Design at St Martins School of Art and then Embroidery at Goldsmiths College in London in the 1970s I ran a business based in my hometown of Grimsby with my husband, designing, manufacturing and retailing my own range of womenswear for around 28 years. In 2002 I returned to making stitched textile work for exhibitions and have since exhibited my work throughout the UK, and also in Europe, Japan and more recently the USA. I am current Chair of the 62 Group of Textile Artists  and a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. stone,sue_63_no26 How long does a piece take and how do you generally feel about them once they are done? – each one seems to be so laced with emotion… My work takes a long time to make because I use a lot of hand stitching, usually weeks & months rather than days. The process of making is important and can be very cathartic. Marks made with stitch have an added dimension; they move through the surface, creating layers of texture with needle, thread and fabric forming an interaction between the maker and made. Once I have finished a piece I am ready to let it go. I will have said what I want to say at that point in time and I am ready to start the next one. stone,sue_63_no16 You must feel very honoured by your sons citing you as the inspiration behind the textileartist.org . Is the site now a valuable resource for you as a textile artist? It’s rather wonderful to think of it all coming full circle... I love what Joe and Sam have done with textileartist.org. It’s a great resource and the diversity of the content makes it different from what else is out there. The articles capture the full breadth of international contemporary textile practice whilst maintaining an intelligent, accessible and witty style of writing. I always enjoy reading the interviews and finding new artists I haven’t seen before. Do you have any future plans? I will be showing work in the group show Illustrative & Stitched DrawingsPort of Tyne Gallery at The Customs House, South Shields, until 17 January 2016 As well as in a solo exhibition People • Place • Time, Howden Park Centre, Livingston, Scotland 27 May-10 July


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